Two days after a family of four set itself on fire in front the Tirunalveli Collector's office over usury, the district superintendent of police has stated that the victims were money lenders themselves.
This shocking claim, came with a press note from the SP's office which stated that Issakimuthu and Subbalakshmi had not only obtained money from five more persons in the area but had also lent money to locals.
According to reports, the couple obtained Rs. 1,45,000 from one T Muthulakhsmi in 2016. In order to repay the money they owed to one Isakkiyammal, they also allegedly acquired 19 gm of gold from Muthulakshmi.
They had reportedly taken loans from five persons to meet family expenses and for purchase of a housing plot.
“Though they had their own house, using the money they obtained from the above persons, the couple had entered into two house leasehold agreements with one Sengottai Raj and S Muppudathithevar by paying Rs 50,000 and Rs 1,00,000, respectively. That apart, they also bought a 1.5 cent land and had been lending money to the locals for interest.” the note read, according to a TNIE report.
When TNM contacted SP Arunsakthikumar over these allegations, he made it clear that these were revelations from the preliminary enquiry.
"We have just presented the facts that we have gathered till now," the official said.
"There was also a complaint from the moneylender that the couple was not returning the money they had borrowed. We have been conducting investigations as per the law," he claimed.
When asked why there was no response to petitions given by the victims to the Collector, the SP said, "They had given four petitions but never appeared for an inquiry. When the police tried to find them, they were not at their residence.”
Following the horrific incident, where the couple along with their young children immolated themselves, the police have been criticised for allegedly protecting money lenders. While Isakkimuthu is still battling for his life, his wife and two children aged five and one and a half have succumbed to their injuries at a Government hospital in Tirunalveli.